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July 26, 2018 07:22 pm

Scientists Perfect Technique To Create Most Dense, Solid-State Memory in History that Could Soon Exceed the Capabilities of Current Hard Drives By 1,000 Times

New submitter weedjams shares a report: Scientists at the University of Alberta have demonstrated a new data storage technique that stores zeroes and ones by the presence (or absence) of individual hydrogen atoms. The resulting storage density is an unparalleled 1.2 petabits per square inch -- 1,000 times greater than current hard disk and solid state drives, and 100 times greater than Blu-rays. The researchers, led by PhD student Roshan Achal and physics professor Robert Wolkow, built on a technique previously developed by Walkow that used the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to remove or replace individual hydrogen atoms resting on a silicon substrate. The inconceivably small dimensions (a hydrogen atom is only half a nanometer in diameter) allow for an astounding data storage density of 1.1 petabits (138 terabytes) per square inch. By comparison, a Blu-ray disk can "only" store about 12 terabits of data in the same area (one hundredth the data density), while both traditional magnetic hard drives and solid-state drives store somewhere in the region of 1.5 terabits per square inch (a thousandth of the density). This development, says Achal, could allow you to store the entire iTunes library of 45 million songs on the surface of a US quarter-dollar coin. Achal and his team demoed the technology by creating a 192-bit cell, which they used to store a simple rendition of the Super Mario Bros video game theme song. To show the rewrite capabilities, the scientists also created an 8-bit memory cell which they used to store the letters of the alphabet one by one, represented via their respective ASCII code. Further reading: ScienceDaily, and Nature.

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